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How To Report a Dog Bite in Maryland

How To Report a Dog Bite in Maryland

Roughly 5,000,000 people across the country are bitten by dogs each year. Almost 60% of them are children. In 2023 alone, homeowners insurers in the US paid out $1.12 billion in liability claims for dog attacks and related injuries, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Dog bites can result in serious injuries and complications, making it crucial to report such incidents promptly. In Maryland, specific procedures must be followed when reporting a dog bite to ensure proper documentation and investigation.

Understanding the steps involved in reporting a dog bite, as well as reaching out to a qualified personal injury lawyer specializing in dog attacks, can help you protect your rights and seek appropriate medical treatment.

Let’s look at the process for reporting a dog bite here in Maryland, including some important guidelines and considerations.

Dog Bite Laws in Maryland

If you or someone you care for has been bitten, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of dog bite laws in Maryland.

Our state operates under a strict liability rule, which holds dog owners responsible for injuries caused by their pets, regardless of the animal’s past behavior or the owner’s knowledge of its aggressiveness.

This means that dog owners can be held liable for damages resulting from a dog bite, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

Understanding Dog Bites

Dog bites can cause a variety of injuries, including:

  • Lacerations and deep puncture wounds
  • Extreme pain that worsens over time
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Infection, including redness, tenderness, warmth, pus, or oozing fluid from the wound
  • Internal injuries or broken bones
  • Head trauma or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Nerve damage in the bite area, muscle weakness, or loss of function
  • Permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Loss of an eye, limb, or extremity
  • Anxiety, trauma, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)

You should seek emergency medical attention if:

  • The bite is on the head, face, neck, genitals, hands, or feet
  • The bite is large or deep
  • The bite is swollen, bruised, or deformed
  • You have uncontrollable bleeding
  • You have a fever, or the wound feels warm to the touch
  • You have not had your tetanus shot within the last five years

Why You Should Report a Canine Attack

Reporting a dog bite helps authorities track incidents and identify potentially dangerous dogs.

By reporting the incident to animal control or law enforcement, you contribute to public safety efforts and help prevent future attacks on others. Reporting also creates a formal record of the incident, which can be valuable if you decide to pursue legal action against the dog owner for damages.

Having documentation of the incident, including medical records and reports filed with authorities, strengthens your case and supports your compensation claim.

Maybe the most important reason to report that you’ve been bitten is that, by doing so, you help to hold dog owners accountable for the actions of their pets. This may lead to increased awareness of responsible pet ownership and encourage owners to take appropriate measures to prevent future incidents, such as training their dogs or securing them properly.

Steps To Report a Dog Bite

Your highest priority after a dog bite is to seek medical attention for any injuries sustained.

Even seemingly minor bites can lead to infections or complications, so it’s essential to have a healthcare professional evaluate the wound and recommend appropriate treatment.

Be sure that you document the injury with photos and medical records, which is crucial for any future legal proceedings.

Your next steps should include:

  1. Identify the Dog and Owner: If possible, try to identify the dog and its owner following a bite incident. Gathering information such as the owner’s name, contact information, and a description of the dog can be valuable when reporting the incident to authorities. If the dog is unfamiliar or its owner is unknown, take note of any distinguishing features or markings that could aid in identification.
  2. Contact Animal Control: In Maryland, incidents involving dog bites must be reported to the local animal control agency or law enforcement department. Contacting animal control allows authorities to investigate the incident, gather relevant information, and take appropriate action to ensure public safety. Be prepared to provide details about the location, time, and circumstances of the dog bite when making the report.
  3. File a Report: When reporting a dog bite to animal control, you may be required to file a formal report detailing the incident. Provide as much information as possible, including a description of the dog, the extent of the injuries, and any relevant medical treatment received. Cooperate fully with authorities during the investigation process to ensure a thorough and timely response.

Statute of Limitations

In Maryland, there is a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim related to a dog bite.

Generally, victims have three years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit against the dog owner for damages. It’s important to be aware of this deadline and take appropriate legal action within this time frame.

Otherwise, you may lose your right to seek compensation for the damages you’ve suffered.

Evidence Collection

Collecting evidence related to the dog bite incident can strengthen your case if you decide to pursue legal action against the dog owner. This can include photographs of the injuries, witness statements, medical records, and any correspondence with animal control or law enforcement agencies.

Documentation is key to supporting your claim and demonstrating the extent of your damages.

Reporting a dog bite in Maryland is essential for ensuring proper documentation, investigation, and accountability following an incident. By following the steps outlined above and understanding your rights and responsibilities under Maryland law, you can take proactive measures to protect yourself and seek justice for any injuries sustained.

Prompt reporting of dog bites not only helps ensure the safety of the community but also allows victims to pursue compensation for their damages through legal channels.  If you’ve been bitten by a dog in Maryland, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention and report the incident to the appropriate authorities as soon as possible.

If you have any other questions about your rights or responsibilities following a dog attack, GDH Law is here to help.

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